DAY 6 – SATURDAY – JUNE 22
The day began early with a 7:30 am departure. Our first destination was to the base of the cliffs of Arbel. Some in the group hiked to the top of this mountain, while others drove with Itai our guide and approached the top from the other side. The view from the top was spectacular. From here we can see most of the Sea of Galilee below, with the exception of the southern end. From here we drove down to the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee to Magdala. While the site was closed, we were able to see the dimensions of the 1st century synagogue, only one of seven found to date in all of Israel. Jesus must have been here and perhaps even taught from here, even though the Gospels don’t mention it.
Further up on the NW corner of the lake, we visit the Mt. of Beatitudes. We walked down the path that descends to the lake below, taking not of the natural theater created by the topography. Most suggest it was here where Jesus spoke to the crowds his first teaching (the “Sermon on the Mount”). We walked to the shoreline where tradition suggests that this is where Jesus greeted his disciples following His resurrection (John 21). We drove to Nof Ginnosar to see the ancient boat found here in 1986, and then enjoyed an hour-long boat ride on the lake. We read from Mark 4 and Matthew 14, the two storm narratives involving Jesus calming the lake. It was fun to have others small groups join us (from Singapore, New Zealand, Britain, Mexico, and Argentina.
Following lunch we visited Capernaum where Jesus called his disciples. Here, we’ll read about Jesus’ authority while sitting in an ancient synagogue (Mark 1 & 2; Luke 7). Situated on the very NW corner of the lake is Chorazim. An impressive basaltic synagogue made from basaltic rock stands here. Although not dating to the time of Christ, this is the only one found with a “seat of authority” or sometimes called Moses’ seat. We read from Mathew 23 and talked about why this city was one of the three condemned by Jesus. We ended the day by driving back through Tiberias to Yardenit, where two renewed their baptismal vows in the Jordan River.
We returned to Maagan with plenty of time to relax by/in the lake and pool. The water felt good on this 95+ degree day. We ate dinner together, followed by a time on the beach watching the sunset as well as the full moon. Lovely! The life and ministry of Christ came alive today!